University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Martinez v. Mecca Farms, Inc. IM-FL-0013
Docket / Court 01-9096-CIV ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On December 20, 2001, the Florida Legal Services Inc. Migrant Farmworker Justice Project filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of migrant farm workers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging violations of Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act at ... read more >
On December 20, 2001, the Florida Legal Services Inc. Migrant Farmworker Justice Project filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of migrant farm workers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging violations of Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act at Florida tomato and chili pepper packing houses. The workers alleged that they were not paid overtime wages, employee Social Security taxes were deducted from their wages were never paid to the government and that their hours worked were incorrectly calculated. Plaintiffs sought monetary damages and class certification.

This was a companion case to the lawsuit Carranza v. Mecca Farms, Inc. [IM-FL-22] which was filed on behalf of field workers who worked on the farm operations of Mecca Farms, Inc.

On November 25, 2002, the District Court (Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks) certified the case as a class action, over the objections of defendants. Two separate subclasses were created for the tomato and chili pepper packers. Martinez v. Mecca Farms, Inc., 213 F.R.D. 601, (S.D.Fla. 2002).

Shortly after class certification, the parties settled the case. The District Court (Judge Middlebrooks) entered its order approving the settlement on April 3, 2003, retaining jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement, but otherwise dismissing and closing the case. Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, an unlimited joint settlement fund was created to settle claims in the Martinez case and in the companion case Luz-Carranza v. Mecca Farms, Inc., case no. 01-9013, filed on behalf of field workers. [IM-FL-22]. The defendants agreed to pay the Martinez class members $4.00 per day worked in the tomato packing houses and $3.00 per day worked in the pepper packing houses. Defendants also agreed to file appropriate W-2 forms with the government. Attorneys fees in the amount of $200,000.00 would be paid by defendants and a $25,000 contribution would also be made to a local farm workers assistance group. Luz-Carranza class members were to be paid $5.00 per day for field work.

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Dan Dalton - 11/12/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Employment
Temporary foreign workers program
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1871
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219
Defendant(s) A-Z Grading & Packing, Inc
Mecca Farms, Inc
Medrano Harvesting & Packing, Inc
Plaintiff Description All migrant agricultural workers employed or jointly employed by Defendants Mecca Farms, Inc., in Mecca Farm's tomato or pepper packing house from October 1996 through March 2002.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-FL-0022 : Carranza v. Mecca Farms, Inc. (S.D. Fla.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
9:01-cv-09096-DMM (S.D. Fla.) 04/15/2003
IM-FL-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [] 12/20/2001
IM-FL-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Amended Complaint [] 05/20/2002
IM-FL-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification 11/25/2002 (213 F.R.D. 601) (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0013-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Order Granting] Defendant's, Mecca Farms, Inc., Motion to Compel Plaintiff's to Respond to the First Set of Interrogatories to Plaintiffs 02/25/2003 (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0013-0003.pdf | Detail
Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement; Order on Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement; and Settlement Agreement 03/10/2003
IM-FL-0013-0006.pdf | Detail
Final Order 04/08/2003 (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0013-0005.pdf | Detail
Judges Middlebrooks, Donald M. (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0013-0003 | IM-FL-0013-0005 | IM-FL-0013-0006 | IM-FL-0013-0007 | IM-FL-0013-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Caron, Cathleen Demerise (Florida)
IM-FL-0013-0001 | IM-FL-0013-0002 | IM-FL-0013-0005 | IM-FL-0013-0006 | IM-FL-0013-0007 | IM-FL-0013-9000
Hirales, Lillian Magdaleno (Florida)
IM-FL-0013-0005 | IM-FL-0013-0006 | IM-FL-0013-9000
Schell, Gregory Scott (Florida)
IM-FL-0013-0001 | IM-FL-0013-0002 | IM-FL-0013-0005 | IM-FL-0013-0006 | IM-FL-0013-0007 | IM-FL-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Boswell, Don R. (Florida)
IM-FL-0013-0005 | IM-FL-0013-0006 | IM-FL-0013-0007 | IM-FL-0013-9000
Ianno, Joseph Jr. (Florida)
IM-FL-0013-0003 | IM-FL-0013-0005 | IM-FL-0013-0007 | IM-FL-0013-9000
Smigiel, Gary G. (Florida)
IM-FL-0013-9000
Stutin, Cathy Mattson (Florida)
IM-FL-0013-9000
Wulf, Henry S. (Florida)
IM-FL-0013-0003 | IM-FL-0013-0005 | IM-FL-0013-0007 | IM-FL-0013-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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